Friday, May 11, 2012

Which Final Fantasy Spin-Off Is Right For You? Final Fantasy Tactics Edition

Kawaiian Punch is hitting the road again, and that means it's time for another retrospective series!

Last time I did something like this, I focused on answering the burning question of which Final Fantasy is right for you? In writing that list I realized that with 25 years of history behind it, the Final Fantasy franchise has seen a lot of side projects and spin-off titles which are not that easy to keep track of.

To help make sense of these b-sides, I am running a five-part series covering some of the most prominent Final Fantasy spin-off titles... and what better place to start than with the spin-off that started it all, the 1997 release of Final Fantasy Tactics?

(Warning: Many a spoiler follows below!)

The Basic Plot: A kingdom is thrown chaos during a bitter war of succession. A lone warrior hears the call of destiny and enlists an endless cavalcade of friends/soldiers/fodder to take arrows for him, help him save the world.

The More Elaborate Plot: The King of Ivalice died from a mysterious illness and left a 2-year-old princeling to succeed him. A search for a regent began and two great war heroes- Duke Goltanna, the black lion, and Duke Larg, the white lion- were nominated for the job. Rather than resolve their differences amicably or have an election, they wisely decide to throw the entire world into war to see who gets to babysit said princeling for the next sixteen years.

As the game progresses, you- a lowly squire working his way up the ranks- learn that there is more to the conflict that a simple matter of succession. The kingdom is being manipulated into war by the church who wants to claim dominion over the realm once the two dukes off each other. Later still, it comes to light that the church itself is being manipulated by an order of zealots hellbent on freeing the Lucavi (espers/summons/eidolons/etc) and resurrecting their leader- Ultima, The High Seraph- so they can destroy the world. Because... why not?

What The Game Was Supposed To Look Like / What It Really Looked Liked:

You’re A Hero Because: You happen to be in the right place at the right time. Also, you believe in justice, honor, and have the sense to realize that something is rotten in the state of Ivalice.

The Villain Is A Dick Because: 1,200 years ago the world was almost destroyed by Ultima, the High Seraph but her host body was killed before the genocide could happen. Now that she's being resurrected she has a new army of demons ready to serve her and is dead set on picking up where she left off over a millenium ago. Now that's determination!

You Need To Stop Him/Her, Or Else: The Espers/Lucavi will be able to slip the servitude of mortals, come and go as they please, and generally pay everyone back for millennia of servitude with pain, anguish, and all manner of other unpleasantries.

Notable Additions To The Franchise: Introduced the fictional game world of Ivalice to the FF Universe, first strategy RPG in the series.

Best Version Available:
The original PSX version still holds up quite well but the iPhone and PSP ports are notoriously slow and buggy. The remastered PSP re-release Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions isn't half bad and is worth picking up if you have a PSP lying around.

This Game Is Perfect For:
Those who always dreamed of playing Final Fantasy on a checkerboard, fans of 16-bit sprites and everything that made Final Fantasy III's job system enjoyable.